When my wife’s water broke at 29 and half weeks gestational age, I immediately started googling. “born 29.5 weeks” “preemie 30 weeks” “water broke 29 weeks” etc, etc, etc. I read stories of incredible women and families who dealt with very severe health issues, or almost no issues at all. I read message boards, blog posts, and watched youtube videos by the score. Whether the stories were happy, or sad, I got great comfort from increasing the amount of information I had and in learning from families that had dealt with what we were facing.
So, to add to this pool of google-able information, I’m sharing our story of having a premature baby. I’ve split this up into three sections: the story of E’s water breaking, the story of labor, and the story of our stay in the NICU. I hope this helps out any other parents out there dealing with a similar situation.
Spoiler alert: Baby and Momma are home and doing well. There are still scores of doctor’s visits, tests, and appointments in our future. But so far, so good. Our baby girl is here with us and she is perfect.
E woke up on April 5 and noticed she’d had a somewhat unusual discharge. She felt fine, and wasn’t particularly concerned. Just to be on the safe side, she went to the doctor. A quick sonogram at the doctor’s office and he sent her to the hospital – he feared she’d had an “abruption” or tear in her placenta.
This shit can be serious to the health of the baby and the mother. At the hospital, the baby was put on monitors for her heart rate and contractions, and E received a steroid shot for fetal lung development in case the baby had to come early. All looked well, as we waited for the sonogram room to become available. After more thorough sonogram it was determined that she hadn’t had an abruption. Whew. Now, they just wanted to do a quick physical exam and then we could go home.
Except — oh shit. A physical exam reveals that E’s water has broken. Everything changes. We are not going home. Doctor’s who were joking become serious. Nurses move into action. Our OB is called.
E is moved to an ante-partum room for women with pre-term ruptures or labor. She is given magnesium for fetal development and scheduled for a second steroid shot the next day – if she makes it that long without delivering. Our doctor arrives and says that while 50% of women give birth to the baby within a week of a preterm premature rupture of the membrane (ie PPROM), it was always possible that E could go longer, or, possibly, reseal entirely. We just had to wait and see.
So, we cried again. We worried. We dealt with logistics. E continued on the magnesium, which made her groggy and ill, for the next 24 hours. No baby. Another steroid shot. More waiting.
Friends brought food to the house. People spent time in the hospital with E. Grandparents watched our son. I visited everyday. Days turned into weeks and still no baby. We hit thirty weeks, then thirty-one, then thirty-two, then thirty three.
Our doctor suspected E might have resealed and was considering sending her home when, at 33 weeks and two days, she started leaking again. This turned out to be a re-rupture (we think) followed two days later by regular contractions. And active labor.
After exactly a month in the hospital on bed rest, E was going into labor. We were having out baby girl at 33 and a half weeks.